Comparative essay - Othello/Macbeth tragic heroes

2547 WordsJan 14, 201411 Pages
Coursework Unit 1: ‘Many critics have argued that Othello is not a true Shakespearean tragic hero. Explore the idea that Shakespeare intended to make Othello fit the criteria of his tragic hero with comparison to Macbeth.’ By Marina Georgallides A tragic hero, determined by Aristotle, must show a nobility and virtue of a certain magnitude however, their path to happiness should be ceased by their destructive vice (Harmartia- the flaw that eventually leads to their downfall). Peripeteia, the point where the character’s fortune changes, must evoke a state of pity and fear amongst the audience, and give above all, a didactic message. The outcome of this characteristic should result in a complex but sole instigation of both the hero’s…show more content…
His eloquence of poetry in Act 1 is in stark contrast to his rather barbaric and politically incorrect behaviour in Act 3, particularly to a 21st century audience as his act of “striking her” (Desdemona) across the face is an incredulous act that is totally unacceptable to feminists now but may have been deemed as common or even deserved to a contemporary audience of the 16th century. His affection dramatically changes towards Desdemona and it can be argued that Othello “allows manipulation and jealousy to lead to his self-destruction”- Tasha Kelley (2010) Othello simply cannot help the jealousy that he feels within him, no matter how much of an influence Iago is upon him. At this point, Othello is entirely convinced and absolute in the killing of his wife; the use of hyperbolic language in “I’ll tear her all to pieces” emphasises his sheer mercilessness since “all” of Desdemona will be killed. Unlike Othello, Macbeth changes rather early on in the play, and the only real evidence that the audience sees of his nobility is what others say about him. In Act 1 Scene 2 Duncan expresses, “O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman”; the use of positive adjectives to describe Macbeth would give both a Shakespearean and modern audience a good impression of Macbeth even before he is revealed in the play. On the other hand, current and contemporary audiences would also notice that the other

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